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Acting Minister Qayoumi Testifies before Senate Committee

Acting Minister Qayoumi Testifies before Senate Committee

KABUL - Acting Finance Minister Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi testified before the Complaints Assessment Committee of the Afghan Senate – the Meshrano Jirga – to answer accusations about his receiving high salaries from foreign institutions, as well as to address accusations of corruption in the customs office of the Finance Ministry.
This was the first appearance of Qayoumi since documents came to light suggesting that he had been given foreign salaries while serving as finance minister of Afghanistan.
The head of the committee, Zalmay Zabuli, questioned Qayoumi about the following matters:
•             Qayoumi’s foreign salaries from an American institution when he was serving as President Ghani’s advisor in 2015 and 2017.
•             The Afs700 million ($8.9 million) budget provided by the Finance Ministry to the State Ministry for Peace Affairs.
•             The government’s efforts to win an $8 billion loan from Arab nations.
Qayoumi responded to questions about seeking money from Arab lenders:
“A loan is received after it is approved by the parliament. So far, not even one Afghani has not been taken as a loan. A big part of the $8.5 billion self-reliance plan will come from private investment,” Qayoumi said.
He answered the following about his foreign salaries:
“I have written a statement about my salaries, and I have not received a salary from anywhere since I began serving as finance minister.”
The head of the Senate committee asked Qayoumi to comment on the findings of the audit office of the Finance Ministry, which reported that appointments in customs offices in Nimroz, Herat, Farah and Kunduz provinces had been obtained for $250,000 each with a fake signature of Mr. Qayoumi. According to the findings, the following officials paid for appointments from the customs offices:
•             Abdul Fatah, head of Nimroz customs office for $240,000
•             Abdullah Shirzai, head of Herat customs office for $250,000
•             Ali Hakimi, manager of Islam Qala customs office for $150,000
•             The deputy head of Nimroz customs office for $50,000
•             Mahjoob, head of Kunduz customs office for $150,000
•             The head of Farah customs office for $150,000
“You appointed them and there is evidence about it and they have no experience (for their posts),” Zabuli told the Finance Ministry’s team.
In response, Qayoumi said: “The issue of fake signatures and all the documents has been sent to the Attorney General’s office.”
Meanwhile, Zabuli accused the general director of finance and administration, Mohammad Khan Danishjo, of embezzlement and for not paying Afs70 million to the government.
But Qayoumi said he is not aware of the matter. Danishjo said he is “not indebted to the government.”
Zabuli asked the acting finance minister about a contract between senators and the Ministry of Finance approving the 10% levy on telecom services in exchange for one project for each senator in their respective provinces.
“This purpose of this money is for those honorable senators to sit with other lawmakers and elders and decide about which projects should receive the allocated money,” Qayoumi responded. (TOLO News)